Hulu+ just updated their app last week, so I thought this would be a good time to address the absurd amount of negative reviews they have in the App Store.

I love Hulu+.  I got my invite August 1st and have been using the app on my iPhone 4 several times a week to watch shows — catching up with Glee while at work (shhh!), and watching the first season of Modern Family at the gym (FYI—laughing on the treadmill will immediately provoke stares and glares.)  I think the Hulu service is smart and having it readily accessible on my iPhone 4 is convenient.

So why are there so many negative reviews of it in the App Store (It’s currently at 1.5 stars)?  Most comments seem to be some variation of these complaints:

Why pay for what’s free online?

The problem with this complaint is that these folks haven’t done their research or paid attention to advertising: Hulu+ (note the PLUS sign) is a monthly service ($9.99/month) you pay for that allows access to far more than the limited quantities of video available for free online.

You can get entire past seasons of current shows such as 30 Rock and The Office, as well as the entire run of now-defunct shows such as The X-Files, Arrested Development, Buffy, and many short-lived series that were canceled too early (I’ll never forget you, Angela Chase!).

Don’t want all that?  Then don’t download Hulu+ (or rate it).  You can still watch all your current favorite shows online with a plain, free Hulu membership.

Why is the app free if you can’t watch anything without a subscription?

The name of the app is Hulu PLUS.  It is meant for people who have the subscription, or to preview the service and what it offers.  If it were simply “Hulu” then yes, complaining that you can’t watch the free content available on the web would be valid.  I can download Netflix for free, but it’s pretty useless if I don’t have a subscription.

I pay $9.99/month and I still have to watch ads?

As opposed to $70+/month and still having to watch ads on your cable TV?  Even if you have a DVR, you’re still subject to commercials when watching something live.  I gave up cable over a year ago in favor of Hulu, so a couple minutes of ads don’t bother me.

The app doesn’t work

Version 1 and 1.1 were really buggy and problematic.  Since updating to 1.2, a lot of the problems I had have disappeared or been minimal.  No more choppy playback, resuming where you left off is much faster and intuitive (the app doesn’t freak out if you get a text message or push notification), and the buffering is improved.

There’s still some work to be done, as the UI could be easier to navigate, and shows should be divided by seasons instead of having to scroll through all 100 something episodes.  But Hulu+ for the iPhone 4 is a great complement to your existing Hulu+ subscription.

In short, don’t let the naysayers reviewing the app deter you.  Hulu+ is great. Have you tried it? What do you think?

  • my only complaint about hulu+ is that it does not support video out. Other than that, I am happy with my subscription.

  • Dadditude

    I love Hulu, but the amount of shows that are available on Hulu that cannot be watched on Hulu+ is APPALLING. Nothing from SyFy, no Hell’s Kitchen. I look at my queue on hulu.com and over half the shows listed are not available on the iPhone. What good does it do me to have entire seasons of shows I DON’T want to watch if I can’t even watch ONE EPISODE of shows I DO want to watch.

    And say what you want about video performance in your experience, but I am STILL getting choppy video playback even with the latest version.

    All that said, I still give Hulu+ 3 stars, because when it DOES work and DOES have something I want to watch, it’s great! I just wish it could be great all the time.

  • Chappo

    It seems like it’s a great service… The two questions I have is can I get it in Australia and can I use it on the new appleTV

    • Looks like it’s U.S. only according to the Hulu Wiki page. Sorry! And Hulu is not available on the new AppleTV, but it is coming to Roku and TiVo Premiere.

  • Good stuff. Even though I don’t subscribe anymore, it was fine when I did subscribe. I think a lot of people just want a reason to be overly critical, hence the amount of 1 stars.

  • Falk

    I pay less for a Netflix subscription and there are no ads whatsoever. That (and not cable) is what you should compare it to. Hulu definitely needs to address that point or the negative reviews (not that I have written one) will continue.

  • SoCoMagNuM

    Reason i cant give it 5 stars is that im paying for a plus service but im limited to what i can watch on the go. For example me and my girlfriend likes watching “the secret life of american teenager” but we end up missing episodes. Im subscribed to the season so the day after it aires i get an email saying its added to my queue. But when i log in on my iP4 hulu+ app it doesnt show. I can watch it on laptop no problem but not on my phone. Why not? I pay extra for limitations…weird.

  • don’t use credit card my country,my country in somalia .how do you help me?

  • Ed Sevennten

    “…catching up with Glee while at work (shhh!), and watching the first season of Modern Family at the gym ”
    Are you a homosexual?